The Dow Chemical Company, the “Official Chemistry Company” of the Olympic Games and Official Carbon Partner of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, announced Tuesday that Dow AgroSciences Brazil is working with Brazilian farmers from the state of Mato Grosso to implement more sustainable agricultural practices that will generate climate benefits for the mitigation of Rio 2016’s direct carbon footprint.
The Sustainable Agriculture project is a key element of Dow’s innovative “Sustainable Future” program being implemented across Brazil and Latin America, which utilizes energy-efficient technologies and low-carbon solutions to minimize greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Through the Sustainable Agriculture project, Dow, in collaboration with Farmers Edge, a world leader in precision agronomy, and Irriger, a Brazilian group specialized in irrigation management, will provide variable rate technology and expertise to farmers in Mato Grosso, one of Brazil’s main ‘breadbaskets.’
The project is designed to minimize environmental impact and optimize productivity in corn and soybean crops through higher yields, better varieties and more targeted pest control management. Implementation of the precision and variable rate technologies along with seeds and crop protection solutions from Dow is expected to result in lower rates of synthetic fertilizer application, leading to a reduction in emissions of nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas (GHG) and is produced as fertilizer decomposes. The reduced GHG emissions from this project will be applied towards Dow’s commitment to mitigate 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq) for the Rio 2016 Games.
“The objective is to help farmers produce more with less, and increase yield through advanced and more sustainable agricultural practices — all while contributing to one of Rio 2016’s most important sustainability goals,” said Welles Pascoal, president of Dow AgroSciences Brazil. “This project is fully aligned with Dow AgroSciences’ mission to put science at work to address the needs of an ever-growing world through innovative technologies for crop protection, seeds and biotechnology.”
Following the successful execution of a similar “Sustainable Future” program in Sochi for the 2014 Olympic Games, Dow was selected as the Official Carbon Partner of Rio 2016 in September 2014. Dow designed a tailor-made program to address the technology needs for Brazil focused on farming, industrial processes and civil infrastructure to generate climate benefits for the mitigation of the direct carbon footprint of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee. In addition to Dow’s commitment to mitigate 500,000 tons of CO2eq from the organizing and hosting of the Games, Dow and Rio 2016 will also work to generate an additional 1.5 million tons of CO2eq in climate benefits by 2026, to address other Games-related emissions.
Farmers participating in the project have access to services and technologies such as satellite imagery, precision harvest and profit maps, intensive soil sampling and laboratory analysis, weather monitoring, and detailed review of cropping plans and goals with variable rate technology experts. Seeds and crop protection solutions from Dow are also available to help optimize production and increase yields.
Work with farmers started during preparation for the 2015 Brazilian soybean season, and will continue through the end of the 2016 corn harvest. Carbon emissions reductions will be tracked based on productivity increase and reductions in the use of fertilizers and fuel. The climate benefits generated by the Brazilian farms participating in the project will be measured, reviewed and verified by the third party Environmental Resource Management (ERM). Dow says the climate benefits of the Sustainable Agriculture project will be realized over the next five years — far beyond the Olympic Games, creating a lasting legacy for farmers participating in the program.
“Agriculture plays a key role in the Brazilian economy and is also one of the largest sources of GHG emissions, therefore the opportunities to implement more sustainable practices are countless,” commented Tânia Braga, head of Sustainability & Legacy for the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, who spoke at the WCCFF about the Committee’s sustainability plans and goals. “The way we are collectively working to influence the entire value chain will bring great benefits for Brazil long after the Games are over.”
In April, Dow announced an ambitious set of 2025 Sustainability Goals, which it said were designed to redefine the role of business in society. Among the new commitments: developing breakthrough product innovations, positively impacting the lives of 1 billion people, and delivering $1 billion in cost savings or new cash flow for the Company by valuing nature in business decisions and advancing a circular economy.